Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Kimberly a special thanks for your comment and beautiful poem. I am so happy to know that there are people out there who I can connect with through these pages.
Thank you all again. Your thoughtfulness means so much to me.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
1 pound top sirloin or tenderloin, cut into 1 inch wide by 2 1 /2 inch long strips
1/3 cup chopped shallots
½ pound portabella mushrooms
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon dry tarragon
1 cup sour cream, room temp
Melt 3 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Increase the heat to high/med-high and add the strips of beef. You want to cook the beef quickly, browning on each side, so the temp needs to be high enough to brown the beef, but not so high as to burn the butter. You may need to work in batches. While cooking the beef, sprinkle with some salt and pepper. When both sides are browned, remove the beef to a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots. Cook the shallots for a minute or two, allowing them to soak up any meat drippings. Remove the shallots to the same bowl as the meat and set aside.
In the same pan, melt another 3 Tbsp of butter. Increase heat to medium high and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes. While cooking, sprinkle the nutmeg and the tarragon on the mushrooms.
Reduce the heat to low and add the sour cream to the mushrooms. You may want to add a tablespoon or two of water to thin the sauce (or not). Mix in the sour cream thoroughly. Do not let it come to a simmer or boil or the sour cream will curdle. Stir in the beef and shallots. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve immediately over egg noodles, fettuccine, potatoes, or rice. Serves 4.
I kept myself busy yesterday to try and help lift this cloud of sadness that is lingering over me. We worked in the yard again. I stained the little wheel barrow John built for me, I cleaned out the armoire in the kitchen and I cleaned the fridge and washed every square inch of it. I even scrubbed the rubber molding with Q-tips. I know, I know, a bit compulsive, but it was dirty! John put the Beatles on for me because he knows they make me happy and after awhile I found myself singing along and before you know it I was looking for a cupcake recipe to make, cause we all know cupcakes make everyone a little happier.
I had narrowed it down to dark chocolate or yellow cupcakes. I asked John to pick, he chose the yellow, so yellow it was. From Cooks Illustrated I bring you:
Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting
1 ½ cups AP flour
1 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg, room temp
2 large egg yolk, room temp
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin/cupcake tin with paper or foil liners.Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain. Divide batter evenly among cups of prepared tin using 2-ounce ice cream scoop or heaping tablespoon. Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Use skewer or paring knife to lift cupcakes from tin and transfer to wire rack; cool cupcakes to room temperature, about 45 minutes.
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chopped (I used chips)
Bring cream to boil in small saucepan or in microwave. Place chocolate in medium bowl and pour boiling cream over. Cover with foil and let stand 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool and slightly firm, 45 minutes to 1 hour.Transfer cooled chocolate mixture to bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment; whip mixture at medium speed until fluffy and mousse-like and forms medium-stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Spread 2 to 3 generous tablespoons Chocolate Ganache Frosting on top of each cooled cupcake; serve.
These didn’t turn out as good as I expected. They were a little on the dry side but it might have been because I used the nut cups again. I think I left them in a bit too long. I had a half of one and they were edible, but not great. They really aren’t too pretty either.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Fatty had been failing steadily for well over 6 months. He’d have his good days and his not so good days. The last month or so his not so good days were outnumbering his good ones. He wasn’t even fat anymore. Just a shadow of the big round lump that he used to be.
I can say that he had a glorious life. He lived outside for most of the year, only venturing in during the chilly fall nights. He hibernated with us in the winter. His favorite spot was on the back of the couch. I would pick up him when he couldn’t jump up anymore, just so he could spend some time there, looking out the window.
When I was divorced and living on my own for the very first time in my life, it was often just Fatty and me. The boys Dad would come to take them and I was left alone in the house, petrified. Every night he would lie on the couch right above my head, and he would let one paw hang down so it touched me ever so slightly. I always liked to think that was his way of saying “I’m here Mama”.
He was hunter. I couldn’t even begin to count all the mice, moles, squirrels, and birds that he left for me over the years. Always making sure I saw his latest catch, happily purring and rubbing against my leg until I said “Good Job Fat Man” and gave him a scratch behind the ears. He was happiest outside, lying in a sunny spot, drinking out of the mini birdbath that he claimed as his watering dish.
He always kept us laughing. One of the funniest Fatty stories happened at Thanksgiving time. I had baked up a bunch of pies, wrapped them up and covered them in linen towels. I had them lined up on the stove. Thanksgiving morning I awoke to find Mr. Fatty comfortably curled up in one of my pies. He was quite content all balled up in my pumpkin pie. Must have had a nice warm nap. I wish I had a picture of that, but at the time I was quite perturbed with him, so I wasn’t reaching for the camera.
Mitch and John had to shave him a few times over the last few years. He had stopped grooming himself and became so matted that they had to get the industrial sized shears from work to shave his back. He looked so pitiful after those shaves, but he felt (and smelled) so much better.
As he got older, even his voice changed. He no longer meowed, he squeaked. Short little bursts of sound to let us know he was hungry, or wanted out. We discovered the squeak about a year ago. About 3am one morning I heard what I thought was one of the smoke detectors starting to loose battery power. You know how they make the annoying noise every 30 seconds or so? Well I heard that noise and nudged John to get outta bed and please pull the battery out until morning. When he returned to bed I asked him which smoke detector is was. “Fatty” he said. “That was Fatty. He was hungry”.
Two years ago John brought him into work to have a small tumor removed from his side. As the Doctor examined him he told John he couldn’t believe that he was 19 years old at the time. He was in great shape. His only complaint was that he purred so loud that he had trouble hearing his heartbeat. That was my Fatty, always purring, always happy. He really was the perfect cat.
John always said he was the first friend he made in Rhode Island.
He had been my friend for 21 long and happy years. I don’t think there is a cat out there that could have wished for a better life.
I will miss you my sweet boy.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Not just any flower, but daisies in particular. I usually buy a bunch about every month or so since they almost always last about 3 weeks. I break a large bunch up into smaller groupings and scatter them around the house, sometimes in vases or old milk bottles, or this neat little vase I found today and just had to have. The top has a "frog". Not a ribbit frog, but a floral frog, which is little round holes to help the flowers stand up straight. I love it.
This months bunch is yellow. Last month my Mom got me a huge bunch of white ones for my birthday. Any color will do for me. They are my absolute favorite flower. I'll take a bunch over roses any day of the week.
Daises make me happy.
Check out the 2 new love nuts the guys found when they were diggin the flagpole.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
This is yet another in my never ending pile of recipes I want to try. John and I split one in half to do a taste test. I got a big “Mmmm” outta him immediately, so I knew they were good before I even bit into my half. I said to him “this is a Nigella recipe, you know the dark haired English lady on Food Network?" For a second he tilted his head and scrunched up his nose, and then he said “Oh the one with the big boobs”. Yes honey, the one with the big boobs. Why am I not at all surprised at that?
These muffins, although light in texture, have a wonderful chocolaty flavor. I will definitely be making these again. I’m sure the big boobed lady will be proud.
Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons best quality cocoa powder
3/4 cup superfine sugar
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 cup milk
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Special equipment: Muffin tin with paper muffin cases (I used nut cups for a change)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips into a large bowl. Pour all the liquid ingredients into a measuring jug. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together, remembering that a lumpy batter makes the best muffins. Spoon into the prepared muffin cases. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top and then bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are dark, risen and springy.
I knew it was going to be a hectic day, so I had made some pasta salad earlier on in the morning and had put a delicious rub on 3 racks of baby back ribs the night before. Every time we opened the fridge this fantastic smell came wafting out at us. The ribs slow cooked in the oven for about four hours on 250, tightly wrapped in foil. I could literally pull the bone right out of the meat. John threw them on the grill to crisp them up and then he poured on some BBQ sauce. They just melted in your mouth.
I used America’s Test Kitchen’s Rub. The only things I omitted were cayenne pepper and the white pepper, both of which I did not have, and also did not want to use. We are wimpy on the heat factor here, all of us cept John that is.
America’s Test Kitchen Rub
4 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground oregano
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Although I had to work this week, John was off and had done a lot of work in the yard. I can now see the peeking heads of all my perennials. It's so good to see green again. I actually opened the windows for the first time in ages. There was this gentle breeze blowing as I stood over the sink doing dishes. That first fresh breeze of spring felt so good. We had something else happen that put us in a good mood this weekend too. John had applied for a job in another department at Brown. It was a job that he had wanted ever since he started working for the University. After 2 weeks of waiting for a decision, he got a call Friday offering him the job! We were ecstatic! Very happy news for our family!
Brownies are always part of a celebration right? This is a recipe that I had been meaning to get around to for quite some time. I had bought the chocolate a few weeks ago so I don't know why I waited so long to make these. They were pretty simple to make. You don't even need to get your mixer out for this one. The recipe said "Note: For best flavor, bake 1 day before serving, let cool and store, tightly wrapped". So that's what I did. I made these Saturday afternoon. We are having our friends Eva & Ken over this afternoon to have a little congratulatory celebration for John, so I saved these babies for dessert. I hid them wrapped in a towel in the breezeway in case anyone might have had some trouble with temptation…like me!
from “Chocolate: by Nick Malgieri
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) butter, more for pan and parchment paper
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, such as muscovado
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or 3/4 cup whole walnuts, optional.
1. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan and line with buttered parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water, or on low power in a microwave, melt butter and chocolate together. Cool slightly. In a large bowl or mixer, whisk eggs. Whisk in salt, sugars and vanilla.
2. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Fold in flour just until combined. If using chopped walnuts, stir them in. Pour batter into prepared pan. If using whole walnuts, arrange on top of batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until shiny and beginning to crack on top. Cool in pan on rack. Yield: 15 large or 24 small brownies.
As you can see from the pictures, this made a dense, chewy, thick brownie, almost fudge like. With one confirmed chocoholic in the house, and 3 boys (my 2 + nephew) who love brownies, I’m sure they will be gobbled right up.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
from Cooks Illustrated
This recipe will enrich store-bought ground lean turkey so that it makes excellent burgers. Ricotta cheese can burn easily, so keep a close watch on the burgers as they cook.
1 ¼ pounds 93 percent lean ground turkey
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
½ cup ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or canola oil
1. Transfer ground meat to medium bowl. Stir in salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, ricotta cheese, and mustard until blended, and divide meat into 4 portions. Lightly toss one portion from hand to hand to form a ball, then lightly flatten ball with fingertips into 1-inch-thick patty. Repeat with remaining portions.
2a. To Cook Indoors: Heat a large, heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron or stainless steel with an aluminum core) over medium heat until very hot, 4 to 5 minutes. Swirl oil in pan to coat bottom, then add burgers. Cook over medium heat without moving burgers until bottom side of each is dark brown and crusted, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn burgers over; continue to cook until bottom side is light brown but not yet crusted, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Reduce heat to low, position cover slightly ajar on pan to allow steam to escape, and continue to cook 8 to 10 minutes longer, flipping burgers if necessary to promote deep browning, until center is completely cooked, or an instant-read thermometer inserted from the side of the burger into the center registers 160 degrees. Remove from pan and serve immediately.
2b. To Grill: Alternatively, grill burgers over medium-low fire (you can hold your hand about 5 inches above grill surface for 5 seconds) until dark spotty brown on bottom side, 7 to 9 minutes. Turn burgers over; continue grilling 7 to 9 minutes longer or until bottom side is dark spotty brown and center is completely cooked or instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees. Remove from grill and serve immediately.
25 large tail-on shrimp, deveined and nicked (see above)
15 eggroll/springroll wrappers, cut in half diagonally (2 triangles)
Oil for frying
Marinade 1 tsp minced garlic 1/2 tsp grated ginger (using rasp grater) 1/2 tsp sesame oil 1 tsp soy sauce 1 tsp sweet chili sauce 1 tsp cornstarch
Cornstarch "paste" (mix well to form paste) 1 Tb cornstarch 1/4 cup water
1. Combine marinade ingredients in bowl, marinate shrimp for 20 minutes.
2. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel. Wrap each shrimp in a eggroll/springroll wrapper half. Seal with cornstarch paste.
3. Fry in hot oil (375) for 3 minutes, until golden brown and shrimp is cooked through. Serve with sweet chili sauce for dipping.
Slice onion very thin. Place in a baking dish and cover with buttermilk for at least one hour. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Grab a handful of onions, throw into the flour mixture, tab to shake off excess, and PLUNGE into hot oil. Fry for a few minutes and remove as soon as golden brown. Repeat until onions are gone. Eat before your family sees them. Repeat with another onion, because they’ll be really mad they didn’t get any.
Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ tsp almond extract
1 cup buttermilk
Divide batter evenly into muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350F, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the muffin pan. Cool completely before frosting.
Preheat oven to 350F. Place liners in a 12 cup muffin tin.In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until it looks creamy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla and almond extracts until mixture is smooth.Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until almost combined. Add buttermilk and stir, again, until almost combined. Add the rest of the flour and stir until all ingredients are mixed in.
Makes 12 cupcakes
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1 stick butter - room temp
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk (plus a few dashes to adjust consistency)
1 teaspoon vanilla.
Beat butter & cocoa until smooth, then add sugar one cup at a time, beating with each addition. Add milk & vanilla and beat about 3 minutes.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Yup another Etsy find. I really should lay off Etsy for a while; I would probably save myself a lot of money, but I just can’t stay away cause there are so many beautiful things to see (and buy!).
I am a sucker for pottery (and baskets and bowls and fireflies, the list goes on and on).
So I’m browsing and I see this beautiful tile that says, “I love cupcakes”. Hey! I do love cupcakes, and pottery, and here they are together! This is an item with my name written all over it! So I browse the hundreds and hundreds of sayings that they have to offer and I see “Mangia” which for those of you who don’t know means ‘eat’ in Italian. Maniga is a word that I will always associate with my Dad, yes because it’s Italian, but mostly because I can vividly remember him saying it all the time when we were at the dinner table. “Mangia! Maniga!” or “Sedersi Mangia” (Sit down and eat!). He also never said cucumbers in English, he always said cetrioli. Cetrioli sounds like shit-trolli when you say it, so we always got a kick out of it when he said it cause it sounded like he was swearing and when you are 9 years old, that’s funny stuff.
So I wanted to share of picture of my beautiful tiles. Her Etsy shop is here:
And her website is here:
She included a small tile that said "Smile" and on the back were instructions to "pass it on". I thought that was the sweetest thing. She can also custom make you any tile that you’d like. Oh you know I'm thinking about that!
Monday, April 7, 2008
Here’s what I came up with.
Lisa’s Taco Ring
1 ½ pounds ground beef
3/4 cup water
1 package of taco seasoning
2 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls (8 ounces each)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 medium onion
½ cup sliced olives
Cook the onions until they are soft and translucent, add the ground beef and cook until browned. Drain and return to pan. Add in a package of taco seasoning and ¾ of a cup of water. Cook just until water is absorbed. Set aside and let it cool a bit. Add in 1 cup of shredded cheddar and the olives. You could also add additional ingredients at this point, i.e., jalapeños, diced tomatoes, make it your own.
Arrange the crescent rolls on a greased deep dish pie pan forming a ring with the pointed ends facing outward. I used 11 of the crescents to line the pan and the last one to fill the gap at the bottom of the pan. I will look like a big radiating sun.
Fill the pan with the beef mixture. Pull the ends of the crescent rolls towards the middle. Bake at 350 until golden brown.
I served this with some shredded lettuce and sour cream.
Consensus was: “This is great Mom!” Definitely a kid pleaser.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Chicken and Dumplings
from Cooks Illustrated
5 pounds bone-in, skin on chicken thighs (usually is about 12-13 thighs)
table salt/ground black pepper
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
4 carrots, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
2 ribs celery, sliced ¼ thick
1 large onion, minced
6 tablespoons unbleached flour
¼ cup dry sherry (I substitute white wine)
4 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
¼ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons reserved chicken fat (or unsalted butter)
1. For the Stew: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the chicken and cook until golden on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and remove the browned skin. Pour off the chicken fat and reserve. Return the pot to medium-high heat and repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and the remaining chicken. Pour off and reserve any chicken fat.
2. Add the butter to the Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the flour. Whisk in the sherry, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the broth, milk, thyme, and bay leaves. Nestle the chicken, with any accumulated juices, into the pot. Cover and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender, about 1 hour.
3. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Discard the bay leaves. Allow the sauce to settle for a few minutes, then skim the fat from the surface using a wide spoon. Shred the chicken, discarding the bones, then return it to the stew.
4. For the Dumplings: Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Microwave the milk and fat in a microwave-safe bowl on high until just warm (do not over-heat), about 1 minute. Stir the warmed milk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until incorporated and smooth. 5. Return the stew to a simmer, stir in the peas and parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Following the photos below, drop golf-ball-sized dumplings over the top of the stew, about 1/4 inch apart (you should have about 18 dumplings). Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the dumplings have doubled in size, 15 to 18 minutes.
What in this big blue marble is more comforting and inviting than fresh baked bread? Fresh baked bread that you don’t have to knead! Yes my friends, NO-KNEAD bread that is fabulous! All you need is time. About 18 hrs of it and you will find yourself slicing into a loaf of the most scrumptious bread your mouth has ever tasted. The crust is incredible, crunchy and crisp, and the bread itself is light and delectable. I can imagine people coming over for dinner and thinking that I stopped at an Artisan bread shop to buy it, it’s that good.
You need a heavy 6 to 8 quart pot, cast iron, enamel, ceramic, etc. This produces a very wet sticky dough which the yeast loves. Even if you wanted to knead it, you would find it impossible, it kind of just goops out the bowl. Baking it in the oven in a pot creates a misty, humid environment and the bread just loves that. The moisture keeps the bread chewy and makes the crust to die for. If you only make one loaf of bread in your entire life, let it be this one.
Jim Lahey at the Sullivan Street Bakery
3 cups all purpose flour or bread flour, more for dusting.
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
1 5/8 cup water (I used 1 ½ plus 2 tablespoons)
Cornmeal or wheat bran for dusting.
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add water and stir until blended. Dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at least 12 hours, preferably 18 at a warm room temperature (70 degrees).
Dough is ready when the surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it. Sprinkle with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
This is what it should look like. See all the bubbles?
Using enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let it rise for 2 hours. When it is ready, the dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked.
At least a half hour before the dough is ready, heat the oven to 450. Put a 6 to 8 heavy covered pot in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that’s ok. Shake the pan once or twice if the dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cook on rack.
This bread is so good you don’t even need to butter it.
My kids have grown up on wheat and whole grain breads. I just don’t buy white bread. When Jesse was in Kindergarten he came home one day and announced to me with great shock that some of the kids eat bread that is white! It perplexed him. I didn’t realize until then that he never had been exposed to it. Both my kids prefer whole grain bread over white any day. My husband would eat white bread over whole grains any chance he gets. I did buy one loaf since he moved here and it made him very happy. “You bought white bread!” It was like he was opening a Christmas present. He still tries to sneak the white bread into the grocery cart on the rare occasions that he accompanies me shopping. It ain’t workin’ for him.
So I came across this recipe when I was looking through the New York Times recipe log. It’s from Mark Bittman. I made this bread in the time it took the oven to heat up. That’s how fast and easy it is. Even if you have never made bread before…..you can do this! It’s that easy. Trust me! Of course I made 2 loaves cause 1 loaf of good bread in a house with 3 men (well 1 man and 2 almost teenagers) will not last, plus I always share. Some bread will be dropped off at John & Tati's house tomorrow morning. This bread is rich and earthy and the perfect accompaniment to any soup or stew. I'll be having 2 thin slices with cucumber and cream cheese for my lunch tomorrow. Make this bread!
Quick Whole Wheat and Molasses Bread
Oil or butter for greasing pan
1 2/3 buttermilk or plain yogurt, or 1 ½ cups milk and 2 Tablespoons of white vinegar (See step 2)
2 ½ cups (about 12 ounces) whole wheat flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup molasses
Heat oven to 325. Grease an 8x4 inch or 9x5 inch loaf pan, preferably nonstick.
If using buttermilk or yogurt, ignore the step to make your own buttermilk (or soured milk). To make soured milk: warm milk gently – 1 minute in the microwave, just enough to take the chill off – add 2 tablespoons white vinegar. Set aside.
Mix together all the dry ingredients. Stir molasses into the buttermilk. Stir liquid into dry ingredients (just enough to combine – don’t over mix!!) Pour into loaf pan. Bake until firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes our clean. 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool on rack for 15 minutes before removing from pan.
Yield – 1 loaf.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
3/4 lb unsalted butter at room temp (3 sticks) I know it’s a lot of butter, but it’s so worth it!
2 cups sugar
5 extra large eggs at room temp
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teas baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup buttermilk
7 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In three parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
A Whoopie Pie is a commonly found treat in New England, but is relatively unknown elsewhere, especially on the West Coast. The pies are not really pies at all, as you have probably discerned from the photo above, but are two chocolate cookie/cake discs with a vanilla cream filling sandwiched between them. They’re not like sandwich cookies and not like cream filled cupcakes, but are an entity unto themselves. No one can say for certain where the name came from, though the most widely held belief is that they were named after the reaction that they were intended to elicit from people who ate one.
These are a smaller petite version of the giant pies we got in Amish country. They are almost devil dog like, but not quite. This recipe made up a batch of 24 (48 tops & bottoms). I had more than enough filling. You really don’t want the middle gushing out when you bite into one. Most of the cream filling recipes that I have come across use shortening which can give the cream a gritty bite. I was happy to see shortening omitted in this version.
Go make this recipe and don't forget to pour yourself a big glass of milk to eat them with.